Female superstars and Horse of the Year candidates Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta lead an all-star cast of finalists for the 2009 Eclipse Awards, recognizing excellence in Thoroughbred racing. Winners in all categories will be announced at the 39th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony, to be held Jan. 18, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.
The announcement of the finalists was made Jan. 6 by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers Association, and Daily Racing Form—the three presenting organizations of the Eclipse Awards.
The 3-year-old filly Rachel Alexandra, winner of all eight of her starts in 2009, including the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), and the 5-year old mare Zenyatta, who won all five of her races last year and culminated her undefeated career by becoming the first female to win the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), are the only two candidates for Horse of the Year. They were the only two horses to receive votes in the Horse of the Year category.
The Eclipse Awards finalists (in alphabetical order) are:
- Horse of the Year: Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta
- Two-Year-Old Male: Lookin at Lucky, Noble's Promise, Vale of York
- Two-Year-Old Filly: Blind Luck, Hot Dixie Chick, She Be Wild
- Three-Year-Old Male: Mine That Bird, Quality Road, Summer Bird
- Three-Year-Old Filly: Careless Jewel, Flashing, Rachel Alexandra
- Older Male: Einstein (BRZ), Gio Ponti, Kodiak Kowboy
- Older Female: Life Is Sweet, Music Note, Zenyatta
- Male Sprinter: Dancing in Silks, Kodiak Kowboy, Zensational
- Female Sprinter: Informed Decision, Music Note, Ventura
- Male Turf Horse: Conduit, Gio Ponti, Presious Passion
- Female Turf Horse: Goldikova, Midday, Ventura
- Steeplechase Horse: Mixed Up, Red Letter Day, Spy in the Sky
- Owner: Godolphin, Juddmonte Farms, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Moss
- Breeder: Adena Springs, Juddmonte Farms, Dolphus C. Morrison
- Trainer: Steve Asmussen, Bob Baffert, John Shirreffs
- Jockey: Ramon Dominguez, Garrett Gomez, Julien Leparoux
- Apprentice Jockey: Luis Batista, Christian Santiago Reyes, Luis Saez
The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-century racehorse and foundation sire Eclipse, who began racing at age 5 and was undefeated in 18 starts, including eight walkovers. Eclipse sired the winners of 344 races, including three Epsom Derbies.
The 2009 Eclipse Awards will be televised live on TVG. For hotel accommodations and Eclipse Awards ceremony reservations, contact Michele Ravencraft at the NTRA's Lexington office, (800) 792-6872, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.